July 31, 2012
I had breakfast a week ago with Taleen Ghazarian, the VP of Strategy and Planning and Bob Zurek the new SVP of Products from Epsilon. The meeting was to re-introduce me to Zurek (full disclosure, he is a former Forrester analyst; worked on a lot of our CRM research several years ago) and brief me on his plans for Epsilon’s new platform. I think Epsilon’s focus on product innovation is overdue (no argument from Zurek or Ghazarian there). But I agreed with Zurek’s vision for where to take things. Specifically, his plans are:
Aggressive: Customers told us as part of our most recent email vendor Wave evaluation that they felt disappointed by Epsilon’s unfulfilled promise of a technology update. Well, Zurek’s charter is create a technology that not only updates any places where current Epsilon tools fall short, but to actually create a brand new platform that out performs any competitors. We’ll see of course, how it delivers. But I admired Zurek’s passion and commitment, and his recognition that Epsilon had to over perform here in order to stay competitive in the digital space.
Agile: I’m big lately on the notion of agile innovation – a framework for innovating in an iterative way — which is based off of the principles of agile development. Zurek’s development approach deliberately embraces agile processes. He is testing iterations with alpha customers and then redeveloping based on their use and feedback.
Email-centric: Epsilon, like every marketing service provider, acknowledges that email is best when integrated into a multi-channel conversation. But Zurek emphasized that there is still plenty of room to innovate around the email channel itself. I liked this because it implies that email marketers can do better (68 out of 70 emails we ran through our email experience review failed). And there can be tools to help innovate with email, even if marketers aren’t yet ready to support integrated marketing.